In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, all real estate and personal property taxes are assessed on a fiscal year basis. Our fiscal year begins on July 1st and ends the following June 30th. Our taxes are collected Semi-Annually.
The first half of the tax is due October 1st. The second half of the tax is due April 1st.
Our bill form is an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper divided into 2 portions. The bottom section should be remitted with your payment.
Payments not made by the appropriate due dates are again subject to interest at 14% per annum.
The top section should be retained for your records. If you pay in person and require a receipt, please bring the entire bill with you. The top part of the bill will be stamped with the date that each payment is made, and then returned to you for your records.
Any amount that is not paid by the appropriate due date is then subject to 14% interest per annum from the date of mailing. Interest accrues daily.
Failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the tax or interest and penalties incurred until collected.
Any balance on the bill which remains unpaid after May 1 is subject to a statutory Demand charge. By state law, the Demand charge is a flat $15.00 per bill, regardless of the amount that remains unpaid and overdue. There is a 14 day due period after Demands are sent before any further action may be taken.
Real estate taxes which remain unpaid after the issuance of a Demand bill are subject to the following tax taking process, which, if carried to its conclusion, results in a municipal tax lien being placed on the property.
Letters are sent out to all taxpayers whose bills have a balance remaining after Demand. Taxpayers are alerted to the tax title process, for which the next step, by state law, requires advertisement in a local newspaper. Notice is given of a due date to avoid advertisement. From this point onward only cash, certified check, or cashier’s check are acceptable forms of payment. Partial payments may still be made on the account, but only payment in full will prevent advertisement.
The tax title advertisement, including the prospective date of taking, is printed in a local newspaper. The Town of Princeton customarily uses The Landmark for tax title ads. The ad triggers additional charges on the account, all of which are prescribed by statute. The prorated cost of the advertisement is also added to the account. This office sends a letter and a copy of each ad to the respective owners and reiterates the intent of tax taking and emphasizes the final due date. At this point, partial payments are no longer accepted.
If payment is not made in full by the advertised tax taking date, a document called an Instrument of Taking is prepared by this office and signed by the Collector, after which it is recorded at the Registry of Deeds. The recording of the Instrument of Taking creates a tax lien on the property.
After a tax taking, the responsibility for collection of the delinquent taxes and charges on the property no longer rests with the Tax Collector, but shifts to the Treasurer.
LAND COURT FORECLOSURE
After a parcel has been in tax title for 180 days, the Town may choose to initiate foreclosure on the property through the Land Court in Boston.
If a taxpayer cannot immediately clear his delinquent taxes, but wishes to avoid foreclosure, he may choose to enter into a payment plan with the Treasurer, 978-464-2105, to pay off the tax lien over a specified number of months.
Application for Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Abatements must be filed by the due date of the first real tax bill, usually April 1st. The actual Abatement date is shown on the bill. The application must be received by the abatement date in the Assessors Office if you are hand delivering, or if you are mailing the abatement application it must be mailed by the abatement date. For further information and proper forms, pleased contact the Assessors Office at (978) 464-2104.
The Town of Princeton offers a variety of state regulated exemptions and deferrals, which reduce or postpone property tax obligations for certain qualifying taxpayers. Some examples are: elderly persons, blind persons, disabled veterans, surviving spouse or orphaned minor child, widowed or extreme hardship. The qualifying date is July 1, and the deadline to apply is three months after the date the actual tax bill was mailed.
There are requirements, which must be fulfilled by the applicant, such as age, income and asset limitations, ownership and occupancy of the property. For more information contact the Assessor’s Office, 978-464-2104.